US Drug War Against Russia Waged From the Asian Foothold

The US intelligence community launched its first drug attacks against Russia in the early 1990s, an epoch when drastic reforms were bleeding Russia’s law enforcement agencies and the borders of the formerly insulated country became easy to cross for envoys of Western drug cartels. The Russian customs and border-guard services which inherited from the Soviet era a very limited experience of dealing with the drug threat were completely unprepared to face the challenge, and the shipments of cocaine and heroin started flowing easily into Russia from a distant continent. Weakening the country regarded as a potential enemy by spreading substance abuse among its population – the younger people, the military, the intellectuals – is a priority of the Empire which seeks to reduce Russia’s human potential.

The majority of drugs supplied to Russia reached it from Columbia where the history of the suspiciously fruitless US anti-drug activities is ages long. The US-brokered free-travel regime introduced by Russia and Columbia – notably, one of Moscow’s first deals of the kind – certainly helped drug barons and their shadowy patrons bring the new drug-trafficking route online. Media reports at the time frequently showed confiscated Columbian drug shipments disguised as bananas, canned fish, or souvenirs. Shortly, narcotics also started coming to Russia from Mexico, the Dominican Republic, and Bolivia. The temptation to earn handsomely at the cost of a brief risk proved irresistible to a lot of Russia’s state employees. The US intelligence community permanently assisted the drug cartels, in part by luring into cooperation the Russians who then became instrumental in disseminating drugs across Russia and in having them forwarded to Europe.

The US “war on terror” and the NATO occupation of Afghanistan propelled the US drug offensive against Russia to an unprecedented level.Over just a few years, Afghanistan’s drug output rose by almost a factor of 50 and reached the equivalent of 190-200 billion of heroine dozes annually, the number roughly 30 times greater than the global population. Drug laboratories occasionally superior in equipment to global pharmaceutical companies proliferated across Afghanistan under the protection of NATO and the US DEA. In the meantime, NATO, the Pentagon, and DEA mount staunch opposition to Russia’s proposals for joint eradication campaigns. The unsophisticated arguments invoked by representatives of the Western coalition are supposed to sound “humanistic”: eradication would allegedly leave Afghan poppy farmers without means of existence, plunge Afghanistan into total starvation, and strengthen the positions of the Taliban in the country. NATO officials stick to the optimistic view that things would improve automatically when viable agricultural alternatives to drug cropping are offered to Afghan peasants. To quell Moscow’s brewing discontent, the US did launch several anti-drug raids in Afghanistan in cooperation with Russia, but of course has not invented up to date any alternatives comparable in profitability to opiates cultivation.

Slightly under 50% of heroin produced in Afghanistan are supplied via the so-called northern route which traverses the Central Asian republics to Russia and further on to Europe. The amounts of heroin on offer in Russia are growing steadily, and the situation evokes the early phase of the developments in Mexico which eventually spiraled into the country’s internal drug and terror war.

The Empire’s strategy is to create the conditions under which a drug war in a “partner”-country erupts imminently and then to make the partners totally dependent on the US support in the conflict. Washington’s supplies of firearms and grenade launchers to Mexico’s rivaling drug cartels clearly reflect the strategy of managing the drug war in the country. Dozens of Mexican military and law-enforcement officers – along with US border guards, customs officers, and DEA operatives – die in the conflict.

The Mexican government is unable to cope with the drug problem on its own and has to make serious concessions to Washington which as a result enjoys unrestricted freedom of maneuver in Mexico. For example, personnel is recruited for Mexican law-enforcement agencies and special forces under US oversight. These people take polygraph tests, receive training in accord with the Pentagon standards, and are taught undivided loyalty to the US. The zombies readily take assassination orders and hardly care whom they are killing – Mexicans, Guatemalans, Hondurans, or Americans. Wrestling over global dominance, the Empire puts this type of technology to work in all parts of the world.

Recently US Assistant Secretary of State for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) William R. Brownfield toured Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Kazakhstan. Brownfield’s personal record is full of episodes related to Washington’s operations against defiant regimes. Occasionally, the efforts ended with spectacular failures, as in Venezuela where Chavez bluntly warned Brownfield that attempts to orchestrate conspiracies and color revolutions would not be tolerated. Isolated and dubbed a clown, Brownfield had to leave Venezuela with a sense of defeat.

What Brownfield delivered to the Central Asian republics was a plan titled the Central Asia Counternarcotics Initiative (CACI) which strongly resembles Plan Colombia (Brownfield served as the US ambassador to Columbia in 2007-2010). The overly self-confident Texan promptly convinced his Central Asian partners that triumph over the common enemy – the drug trafficking – would be within reach. Part of the plan is to have operative groups set up in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan similar to those already organized in Afghanistan and Russia. The US pledges funding for the project, but the amount to be poured into its initial phase – $2-3m – appears modest against the background of the billions of dollars spent on Plan Colombia. Brownfield inaugurated a border-guard and customs complex at the border between Tajikistan and Afghanistan as a showcase of the US-Central Asia cooperation.

Talking to his partners in Dushanbe, Bishkek, and Astana, Brownfield chose not to elaborate on the wider US agenda for the region, which implies profound internal transformations in the five Central Asian republics. Washington’s objectives in Central Asia include the fostering of pro-US regimes and the elimination of any influence Moscow still has in this part of the post-Soviet space. Brownfield similarly did not explain what missions the operative groups would be charged with in the framework of the plan. A credible hypothesis is that those are going to be modeled on Mexico’s and Columbia’s death squads and to be used in serious military offensives in Central Asia. The day may come when the groups will turn out to be the frontier forces of the Empire which hopes to perpetuate its presence in Central Asia with the purpose of holding Russia and China at gunpoint.

Source: Strategic Culture Foundation

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